Genevieve Nnaji‘s movie, ‘Lionheart’, may not be shown in Nigerian cinemas and this has left the actress distraught.
The actress revealed via Ugoma Adegoke, the CEO of Life House, that although getting to show her directorial debut to her fans have been giving her a mush feeling, unfortunately, not everyone shares her enthusiasm.
The statement describes as sad the fact that the very people who pose as Nollywood supporters and promoters of their content are the same people frustrating the efforts of filmmakers.
“FilmOne, one of the major film cinema distributors, has categorically refused to distribute Lionheart, primarily because they have no stake in it. They are currently invested in a couple of movies showing in the cinemas and want to protect their assets at all cost. Monopolizing the market this season is their strategy to recouping their investment,” the statement reads.
According to a report, the actress adds that although pioneer cinema house, Silverbird agreed to exclusively exhibit ‘Lionheart’ across their cinemas, as soon as the announcement was made about the release, the ‘powers that be’ of distribution and marketing proceeded to arm-twist them into backing out of the agreement by threatening to boycott them in the future.
A statement by CEAN’s chairman Patrick Lee has responded to the statement from Nnaji’s team. Lee said that the Lionheart team did not adhere to the processes involved in exhibiting a film in cinemas in the country that’s why most of its members “rightly refused to take the movie.”
See full statement below:
Hi all, as cinema exhibitors we have processes that guide us when considering a movie for exhibition in the cinema.
We expect the movie to come from a licenced distributor, we expect the movie to be given adequate run time in the cinemas before it is officially released on other platforms and also for our cinemas to be provided with adequate notice for the inclusion of the movie in an increasingly crowded calendar. It is clear from the approach taken by the Lionheart team that these processes were not adhered to and most of our members rightly refused to take the movie.
It is also important to note that this movie had been signed up by Netflix months ago, thereby giving Genevieve’s team ample time to secure a spot on the calendar, an option they did not take until quite recently thereby ensuring the possibility of the movie not being shown by cinemas during their preferred date.
Genevieve has starred and produced movies for cinema exhibition in the past so should be familiar with the way the industry works which is why this is a cause for concern for us in the cinema association.
Finally it’s worth pointing out that other movies such as Chief Daddy, KOB and Merry men had all been slated from early March this year. Mo Abudu, AY and Kemi Adetiba who are industry compatriots of Genevieve’s followed the right approach by scheduling early for cinema release, it’s not fair that they may now possibly have their screen times reduced because of the rushed inclusion of Lionheart in the cinemas.
We at the cinema association are also not pleased about the attacks in the statement on some of our members and the sweeping generalisations the statement makes and expect to seek further clarification from its author before determining if further action needs to be taken.